Matt Visinsky

Game Preview: SMU vs. Yale

Billy previews SMU's matchup against Yale in Moody Coliseum tomorrow afternoon.

When: Sunday, November 22 at 3:30 pm CT
Where: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
TV/Radio: ESPNews/KAAM 770 AM
Series: SMU leads 3-0
Last Meeting: SMU beat Yale 81-57 in 1997

Pony Trends 

SMU went into Stanford and did what so many times it couldn't. Dominate a major opponent on the road, but the Mustangs took Stanford to the woodshed for the most part. The Cardinal made a couple runs here and there to close the gap, but SMU would always hold strong. SMU also took full advantage of plenty of Stanford turnovers and only let the Cardinal creep back into the game in the second half when the team went on a streak of turnovers or poor shots. SMU will have the talent advantage in this one and most importantly, Nic Moore, who has picked up where he left off last season. The Mustangs added some elite talents in Jarrey Foster and Shake Milton to its bench it appears and that will help the Mustangs in this one without a doubt. 

Scouting Yale

Yale is off to a good start this year with three rather comfortable wins to start the season. Yale will be off to its first 4-0 start since the 1949-50 season if the Bulldogs can beat SMU. If they beat SMU, I'd doubt it'd be by the over 15-point margin the Bulldogs have averaged in their first three wins. The Bulldogs are an exceptional free throw shooting team and do have some balanced scoring. What the Bulldogs lack in true size, the team makes up for in the ability to hit the three-pointer. Jack Montague is certainly talented, but Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod are coming off solid games with Sears flirting with a quadrouple-double. SMU will have bigger bodies on Sears and Sherrod in this one, but the two are playing well together and have solid support from Montague on the outside.

Three Players to Watch 

Jack Montague: The senior guard is coming off a career-high 21 points and has made more than 50 percent of his shots from beyond the arc this season. It'll be up to SMU to cool his fast start.

Justin Sears: Sears has already scored 27 points once this year and in that game grabbed six rebounds and had five assists as well in the Bulldogs' win over Sacred Heart. The 6-8, 205-pound forward isn't a huge bruiser, but SMU will have to cover him tight.

Makai Mason: One of the Bulldogs' top scorers has scored in double-digits in every game this year and even though he's scored 23, 21 and 12 in his last three games, he can heat up quickly he has shown.

Matchup to Watch

The Backcourts: SMU and Yale both have backcourts that can certainly light up the stat sheet. SMU however has a bit more of a size advantage over the Bulldogs, which should help tremendously. Anthony Dallier and Nick Victor are 6-6 and 6-5 respectively, but haven't exactly scored a ton this season in pretty good minutes. SMU meanwhile has Nic Moore coming off a big-time game against Stanford and the reigning AAC Player of the Year. In his supporting cast includes Keith Frazier, Shake Milton, Jarrey Foster and Sterling Brown at guard, who have played very well to start the year collectively. If Yale gets hot from beyond the arc, SMU will have to answer, but I'd look for SMU to come out aggressive against Yale's guard and try to impose their will. 

Keys to the Game

Another fast start for SMU will be key to beating the Bulldogs and making them quit. SMU's tight defense, size and ability to score from almost anywhere early this year will be more than enough if they jump out early. It'd help even more if Markus Kennedy would stay out of foul trouble early so the paint is well-patrolled with Jordan Tolbert and Ben Moore, but perimeter defense will be crucial. SMU can't let Yale get hot. They'll have to play tight and throw Yale off their game early. SMU is 54-7 under Larry Brown and Tim Jankovich when holding opponents to under 40 percent from the field. More of that defense and SMU will win. If SMU can be aggressive and take high-percentage shots like they have this year, this shouldn't a game SMU fans should be worrying about late in the second half. 

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